Super Regional Bound
STANFORD, Calif. – Playing a winner-take-all finale from the Stanford Regional on Monday night, No. 7 Stanford (36-15) scored seven runs in the first and held on to beat No. 17 UC Irvine (43-18) 11-8 to advance to the Lubbock Super Regional next week.
The Super Regional berth is the 12th in Stanford history and the second in as many tournaments after advancing to a Super Regional against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss. during the 2019 season. With the winner-take-all victory, Stanford is now 6-0 all time in regional winner-take-all games.
Facing UC Irvine's ace, Michael Frias, on short rest, the Cardinal came out swinging – scoring seven runs on eight hits and two Anteater errors to open up a lead it would not relinquish. The seven-run first, which saw Frias exit after recording just one out while allowing four runs on four hits, was highlighted by a Tim Tawa two-run home run to put Stanford on the board. Stanford also managed two of its five sacrifice flies in the opening frame before Eddie Park and Tawa delivered two-out run-scoring singles to cap the scoring.
Frias was ultimately saddled with the loss in the game that lasted 4:05, falling to 9-2 on the season.
Tawa, named Most Outstanding Player of the regional, finished the game 3 for 5 with his 10th homer of the season, two runs scored and three RBIs. The native of West Linn, Ore. batted .526 (10 for 19) with seven runs scored, two doubles, three homers and eight RBI over the four games from Sunken Diamond.
Hitting out of the leadoff spot in the order, Park went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and three RBI.
After the seven-run first inning, Stanford added solo runs in the second, third and seventh on sacrifice flies, while senior Christian Robinson delivered a two-out RBI-single in the sixth.
Stanford pieced together the effort on the mound, using eight different arms to record the 27 outs needed to advance. Freshman Drew Dowd logged an inning before handing the ball to Jonathan Worley to get one out. Senior Austin Weiermiller carried the torch for the next two-thirds of an inning, followed by Joey Dixon for two frames. Sunday's starter Quinn Mathews contributed 2 2/3 innings and was credited with the victory to move to 5-2. Freshman Tommy O'Rourke was next out of the bullpen, followed by Zach Grech who carried the Cardinal to two outs in the ninth. Grech was also pitching on consecutive days after contributing 3 1/3 innings in Sunday's 8-4 loss to the Anteaters.
After UC Irvine managed to put two aboard with two out in the ninth, Stanford elected to bring in senior Jacob Palisch to try to close the door. The left-hander surrendered an RBI-single to Nathan Church to bring the tying run to the plate, but induced a game-ending fly ball off the bat of Mike Peabody to secure his first save of the season.
Church provided the bulk of the offense for UC Irvine, going 4 for 6 with a home run, a run scored and four RBIs while hitting out of the leadoff spot. The round-tripper, one of two for UCI on the night, was his sixth of the season. Designated hitter Dillon Tatum also homered – connecting for a two-run shot, his 15th of the season, in the second inning.
While UC Irvine had opportunities throughout the game, Stanford pitchers stranded 12 runners overall and limited the Anteaters to 3 for 15 (.200) with runners in scoring position.
Stanford will now await the announcement of the schedule for the Lubbock Super Regional against eighth-seed Texas Tech.
Following the completion of the Stanford Regional, the following All-Tournament team was announced:
Most Outstanding Player: Tim Tawa, Stanford
C: Kody Huff, Stanford
1B: Jacob Castro, UC Irvine
2B: Tim Tawa, Stanford
3B: Connor McGuire, UC Irvine
SS: Bennett Hostetler, North Dakota State
OF: Nathan Church, UC Irvine
OF: Mike Peabody, UC Irvine
OF: Christian Robinson, Stanford
DH: Dillon Tatum, UC Irvine
P: Brendan Beck, Stanford
P: Michael Frias, UC Irvine